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 ‘Synergy between Turkey, Egypt serves regional peace, development’

As two countries sharing deep historical and cultural ties and important geopolitical roles, Turkey and Egypt’s synergy will significantly contribute to regional peace and development, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said Thursday.

In an interview broadcast live by NTV, Oktay commented on Turkey’s current foreign and domestic politics along with its ongoing battle against the novel coronavirus outbreak.

He said Ankara’s door was open to improving relations with regional countries on the basis of mutual respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity, especially Egypt, with whom bilateral ties have recently been advancing.

“We have 500-year-old ties, common experiences…commercial ties, a partnership in the political sense, so the connection between the peoples of Egypt and Turkey has never been broken off,” he said.

“The political relations might have ups and downs from time to time,” he said, but added that the joint actions by the two sides would certainly serve in their interests.

According to Oktay, the lines drawn by Egypt in its pursuit of new natural gas and oil reserves in the Mediterranean region respect Turkey’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) territory established through a maritime jurisdiction deal reached with Libya.

In addition, Turkey and Egypt never cut their relations completely and had connections through some other channels, including intelligence and diplomacy, he said, adding their political ties were held on the level of deputy foreign ministers for now and a full normalization would benefit both sides.

– COVID-19 and lockdown in Turkey

Oktay said Turkey’s measures against COVID-19 were determined through scientific analysis and data and the Ankara government has been successful compared with the world for the past year and a half.

The lockdown in effect amid the Muslim holy month of Ramadan has borne fruit as the case count has rapidly dropped to 25,000, Oktay noted, but added that the country’s real intent was to bring it back to the 5,000 level so the Turkish people would have a better summer.

Furthermore, he said the improvement of the health status nationwide would benefit many sectors, especially tourism and services, and the government had also needed to calculate the financial dimension of the crisis along with the social angle, which is why the government refrained from full lockdown policies unless it was a must since the beginning of the pandemic.

Turkey currently has 18 different vaccine studies and seven of them have reached the clinical stage, he said, noting the government ensured any assistance needed to those developing vaccines.

Source: Anadolu Agency